25 Apr 2016

Toronto and Barrie Ontario real estate values compared.




Increasing numbers of GTA retirees and near retirees have their sights
set on Barrie Ontario.
For the past couple decade’s, most any economic report we have read mentions Baby Boomers as being an influential factor on the numbers. This most predominant generation continues to influence our real estate market with their every move, though their needs and wants are shifting somewhat.
A steadily increasing exodus of empty nesters to municipalities within an hour or so drive of the Golden Horseshoe is taking place and is expected to continue for some time.
A snapshot of the past year shows average GTA resale detached home prices hitting $848,999, up by 14% from the previous year with no signs of slowing down. Barrie and area home prices are increasing as well, however the average purchase price of a single detached home in the region is still easier to digest at $400,236.
That housing cost difference of almost $440,000, less than half the work hours required to meet the mortgage payments, has many saying bye bye to big city living in favour of the more comforting pace and price of satellite municipalities a step or two away from the cost and congestion of the Big Smoke. Many are realizing even greater equity gains by downsizing their GTA spreads for smaller Barrie area homes, condominiums and town homes.
The ripples of this trend can be seen in various ways locally. Lake Simcoe Marinas are at or nearing full capacity and Barrie area golf courses, restaurants, car dealerships and travel agencies have never been busier. Many more are helping their children to purchase homes with the equity gains from their own moves.
300,000 people will move to Canada this year, the largest number since 1913 with the majority settling in Canada’s major cities where new condominiums stretching further and further into the sky are being built at every turn in anticipation. Alberta is experiencing an exodus of many who migrated there for work over the past decade. These and other influential factors will keep big city housing prices climbing, and further bolster the thinking of many that maybe there is a better way.

28 Oct 2015

Prepare your Home for Winter

Colder temperatures have returned to Ontario and winter isn't far off.  Yes we know, "snow tires",  here are a few other things you can add to your get-ready list sooner rather than later:





  • replace furnace filter  Your furnace will be keeping you warm for the next 5 months or so and if home heating costs arent already high enough, a dirty filter will add to that expense by restricting the flow of warm air from your heating system and causing it to work harder day and night. A new filter will pay for itself inside of a month in energy savings. For less than $100, a technician will inspect your furnace or heat pump to be sure the system is clean and in good repair, and that it can achieve its manufacturer-rated efficiency.
  • cover air conditioner unit  If you have central air, the combination of blizzards and temps fluctuating between freeze and melt levels again and again over the course of the winter can reduce the life of components within your central-air unit.
  • outside water taps, hoses and sprinkler systems Water expands when frozen, and does so with enough force to crack concrete, ceramic flower pots, hoses, copper plumbing and just about anything else it is contained within during a deep freeze. Outdoor taps have an inside shutoff usually located in the basement. Shut them off before the first frost and leave the outside tap open for remaining water to drain. Sprinkler systems, hot tub and pool plumbing that will be dormant for the next few months should be professionally drained and or blown out to avoid freeze damage. Move your ceramic flower pots to the cellar and anything else that harsh winter elements are likely to damage.
  • ceiling fans If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, run the fan's blades in the direction that will produce an updraft and push down into the room heated air from the ceiling (remember, hot air rises). This is especially helpful in rooms with high ceilings - and it might even allow you to turn down your thermostat by a degree or two for greater energy savings.
  • eaves-troughs Homes with lots of icicles and or ice dams in the eaves are at risk of melt-water backing up into the house. Clean out your eaves troughs of leaves and debris before the snow hits. Insure your downspouts are in place and taking water away from foundation walls.  Identify and fix air leaks and inadequate insulation in your home's attic that can lead to ice dams. A professional inspection is recommended to determine the cause and solution which may be a matter of topping up insulation and or taking measures to increase air flow within your attic space. Along with potential energy savings you will be safeguarding against potential mold issues and premature replacing of your roofing shingles.
  • sump pump Most homes are fitted with a sump pump in the basement. You can test it buy pouring a few buckets of water into the sump reservoir. If it does not come on it is advisable to replace or repair as insurance claims for water damage could be voided in the case of a faulty pump due to home owner negligence. Check it periodically to be safe.
  • chimney If you have a wood fireplace you want to insure birds, racoons or squirrels have not taken up residence in your chimney between last winter and now. Blocked chimneys are a carbon monoxide risk along with being a fire risk. A high number of home fires begin in wood chimneys which have accumulated creosote over time. A professional inspection is money well spent.

Winter holds some advantages for home buying or selling. Those who battle the Canadian winter elements to view properties are typically serious buyers. The lightweights and gawkers will wait for warmer weather to return. The same can hold true on the other side of the equation. Those who list in winter are less likely to be just testing the market. Often there is a pressing need to sell ie: job transfer, financial motivations. Buyers willing to turn up their collar to the cold and snow can find negotiations playing in their favour in the winter months. If you are looking to buy or sell, give me a call. 705 718-6119


16 Sep 2015

Latest Real Estate Statistics from The Barrie & District Association of Realtors® Inc.


 MONTHLY STATISTICS 
BARRIE & DISTRICT ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® INC. 



City of Barrie 
Within the City of Barrie, detached residential properties posted an average selling price for August 2015 of $384,060, an increase of 12% over the same period last year. The year-to-date average selling price of a detached home in the City of Barrie was $378,549, a 9% increase over the same period last year. 
Residential Townhouse, Link and Semi-Detached homes in the City of Barrie posted an average selling price of $276,433 in August 2015, a 4% increase over the same period last year. The year-to-date average selling price in the City of Barrie was $269,727, a 6% increase over the same period last year. 
Condominium sales activity for the City of Barrie was $266,379 for August 2015, which was an increase of 10% over the same period last year. The year-to-date average selling price was $226,377, a -5% decrease over the same period last year. 

Essa Township 
In Essa Township, detached residential properties posted an average selling price of $452,425 in August 2015, an increase of 63% over the same period last year. The year-to-date average selling price of a detached home in Essa was $392,772, a 13% increase over the same period last year. 
Town of Innisfil Page | 2 

Detached residential properties in the Town of Innisfil posted an average selling price of $396,355 in August 2015, an increase of 10% over the same period last year. The year-to-date average selling price was $392,115, an increase of 3% for the same time period last year. 

Oro-Medonte Township 
The average selling price for detached residential properties in Oro-Medonte in August 2015 was $417,485, an increase of 12% over the same time period last year. The year-to-date average selling price was $479,318, a 15% increase over the same time period last year. 

Springwater Township 
Detached residential homes in Springwater Township posted an average selling price in August 2015 of $441,995, a -6% decrease over the same period last year. Year-to-date average selling price to the end of August 2015 was $504,120, an increase of 16% over the same time period last year. 


The Barrie & District Association of REALTORS® cautions that over a period of time, the use of average price information can be useful in establishing trends, but it does not indicate actual prices in widely divergent areas or account for price differentials between geographical areas. 
The Barrie & District Association of REALTORS® Inc. covers a geographical area that includes the City of Barrie and part or all of the surrounding townships, including Springwater, Oro-Medonte, Innisfil, Essa, Bradford-West Gwillimbury and Clearview. 

Data provided from the MLS® Database System of the Barrie & District Association of REALTORS® Inc. 

13 Jul 2015

June 2015 Barrie Real Estate Market Statistics



 Barrie and District home sales set new June record 


Residential property sales recorded through the MLS® System of the Barrie & District Association of REALTORS® Inc. numbered 609 units in June 2015, an increase of 10.1 per cent from June 2014. This was the third best level of any month on record, and marked the first time in history that June sales surpassed the 600 mark. 

Within the City of Barrie, sales activity rose 29.5 per cent on a year-over-year basis. The City of Barrie saw 408 residential sales in June. A year-over-year increase of 6.7 per cent was recorded in surrounding areas, where sales activity totalled 254 units. 

On a year-to-date basis home sales totalled 2,818 units over the first half of 2015. This was up 13.6 per cent from 2014 and marked the best start to any year on record. 

“Housing markets all over the Greater Golden Horseshoe region continue to see very strong demand amid tight supply,” said Bruce Shipley, President of the Barrie and District Association of REALTORS®. “Some of those markets, including the Barrie region, have seen a good amount of new supply come on stream and are setting sales records as those properties are quickly snapped up. Both sales and new listings in the Barrie region set new June records. That said, demand is still outpacing new supply, resulting in some of the lowest levels of overall inventory on record. This, in turn, is pushing price higher.” 

The year-to-date average price for all homes sold via the Association’s MLS® System in 2015 was $365,309, up 7.3 per cent from the same period in 2014. 

The year-to-date average price figure for homes sold within the City of Barrie was $339,353. This was a 5.5 per cent increase compared to the year-to-date average selling price in 2014. 

The year-to-date average price figure for the surrounding areas was $406,866, an increase of 10.5 per cent from the year-to-date average selling price in 2014. 

The Barrie & District Association of REALTORS® cautions that over a period of time, the use of average price information can be useful in establishing trends, but it does not indicate actual prices in widely divergent areas or account for price differentials between geographical areas. 

The dollar value of all home sales in June 2015 was $227.2 million, rising 17.2 per cent from year-ago levels. This was the second best dollar volume of any month, a new record for June, and the first time dollar volumes had surpassed $200 million in the month of June. 

June saw another increase in new supply. New residential listings edged up 1.5 per cent from June 2014 to 865 units in June 2015. This was a new June record. 

Overall supply is currently trending at the lowest levels in more than a decade. Active residential listings on the Association’s MLS® System numbered 1,404 units at the end of June 2015, down 7.4 per cent from year-ago levels. 

There were just 2.3 months of inventory at the end of June 2015 – a record low. The number of months of inventory is the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity. 

Sales of all property types in the Barrie region numbered 632 units in June, rising 11.7 per cent compared to June 2014. The total value of all properties sold in June 2015 was $232.8 million, up 18.8 per cent on a year-over-year basis. 


The Barrie and District Association of REALTORS® Inc. covers a geographical area that includes the City of Barrie and part or all of the surrounding townships, including Springwater, Oro-Medonte, Innisfil, Essa, Bradford-West Gwillimbury and Clearview. The Association provides continuing education, Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®), statistical information, and many other services to its members. 


25 Jun 2015

Barrie Second Suite Questions & Answers













Second Suites: Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are second suites?


Second Suites are second dwelling units located on one property typically found in basements of single dwelling units. A Second Suite can also be located in detached garages that have been converted into a dwelling unit.

2. Why is the City permitting them?


The Strong Communities through Affordable Housing Act requires that municipalities across Ontario amend their planning documents to facilitate the creation of second suites. Second suites provide a form of affordable housing and help owners defray the cost of home ownership.

3. Why not in the Georgian College area?


The City of Barrie has an Incentive program to help facilitate purpose built student housing in the Georgian College area specifically to mitigate the impact of students in established neighbourhoods and to ensure that dedicated student housing is provided which is safe, clean and properly administered by a property management specialist. Allowing second suites would undermine these efforts and exacerbate the existing issues in the area.

4. What are the benefits of second suites?

Second suites provide a form of affordable housing which is relatively simple to implement. Second suites will assist the City in increasing the vacancy rate to healthy standard while providing individuals defray the cost of home ownership.

5. What does “grandfathering” mean and how can I find out if my property is grandfathered?

Grandfathering is a term used to allow for uses to exist without meeting all or some of the bylaw standards and provisions. To find out if your property is grandfathered, legal proof will have to be provided to PlanningServices indicating the date the subject property contained a second dwelling unit (Second Suite).

6. How are second suites enforced?

Generally second suites are enforced upon receipt of a complaint however pending the availability of staff resources, staff will also review rental advertisements both online and in printed media format.

7. I’m a landlord, what are my responsibilities?

Compliance with the City of Barrie’s Zoning ByLaw regulations (barrie.ca/bylaws). Please also refer to the Property Standards for Renters & Tenants.

8. How do I upgrade an existing second suite?

Apply for building permit and have a qualified person evaluate the:
  • Detection and alarm systems for early warning
  • Escape and means of egress for exiting
  • Fire containment for fire separations between suites

9. When do I need a building permit?

A building permit is required when there is a Change of Use (adding suite) OR any construction that affects:
  • Detection and alarm systems
  • Affecting means of egress
  • Affecting fire separations, or
  • Adding/changing plumbing systems

10. How do I obtain the building permit?

a. Apply in person on the 8th Floor of City Hall located at 70 Collier St

b. Download application via barrie.ca/BuildingPermits

Note: a Zoning Certificate required prior to or at building permit submission (please refer to question 14). 

11. What are the building code requirements?

The Building Code provides two different scenarios depending on when your home was constructed. Part 9 of the Building Code applies to new construction, including new dwelling units containing a Second Residential Unit. Part 9 also applies to an addition to your home that is intended to accommodate all or a portion of a proposed Second Residential Unit. If your home is greater than five years old, acceptable alternative design standards are provided within Part 11 of the Building Code. 
The following tables outline some of the requirements of the Building Code as they relate to Second Residential Units. Alternative Part 11 standards are noted where applicable. All relevant sections of the Building Code apply and in the case of a discrepancy between the tables below and the original text of the Building Code, the Building Code shall apply.
Barrie Second Suite Building Code Requirements
Barrie Second Suite Building Code Requirements


12. What are the design standards?

Zoning bylaw standards for a second suite when contained in the principal dwelling shall have a maximum floor area of 40% of the gross floor area of the principal dwelling or no more than 50m2 whichever is greater, have a maximum of 2 bedrooms, provide a parking space, meet entrance requirements to the second suite and that only one second suite be permitted per lot. Should the second suite be located in a detached accessory structure (garage) the second suite shall be connected to full municipal services, not exceed 50m2 in coverage, meet accessory structure location standards and provide a parking space.

13. What are the steps involved with getting approval?

Step 1: Obtain a Zoning Compliance Certificate
A Zoning Compliance Certificate confirms the second suite is a permitted use and the use complies with zoning standards. The certificate can be obtained from Planning Services: 
Planning Services Department
City Hall, 1st Floor
70 Collier Street Barrie, ON L4M 4T5
Phone: (705) 739-4208 • Fax: (705) 739-4270 • planning@barrie.ca
Hours: 8:30am–4:30pm, Monday–Friday
Step 2: Obtain a Building Permit or Change of Use Permit
A Building Permit or Change of Use Permit can be obtained from Building Services and confirms compliance with:
  •  Fire prevention via electrical safety inspection
  •  Fire detection and alarm system for early warning
  • Fire escape for exiting
  • Fire containment with rated fire separation between units
Download application via barrie.ca/BuildingPermits or contact:
Building Services Department
70 Collier Street, P.O. Box 400, Barrie, ON L4M 4T5
Phone: (705) 739-4212 • Fax: (705) 739-4240 • building@barrie.ca
Hours: 8:30am–4:30pm, Monday–Friday


If the second suite was created prior to 1996:
  •  Section 9.8 of the Ontario Fire Code sets construction standards.
  • Barrie Fire & Emergency Service will conduct an inspection and confirm as-built compliance.
  • Any deficiencies involving construction will require a Building Permit.
If the second suite was created after 1996 and the area is already finished space:
  • A qualified person must evaluate the existing construction for compliance with Part 10 of the Building Code.
  • The compliance report noting all necessary upgrades must be submitted with an application for a Change of Use Permit.
  • When a permit is issued, upgrades, if required, must be completed and inspected.
If the second suite does not yet exist and the space is unfinished:
  • A qualified person must design the required construction for compliance with Part 9 of the Building Code.
  • The construction plans must be submitted with an application for a Building Permit.
  • When the permit is issued, construction can commence.
  • Inspections are required at specified stages of construction.
Step 3: Obtain a Registration Certificate from By-law Services
Registration Certificates can be obtained from By-law Services upon completion of steps 1 & 2:

By-law Services
45 Cedar Pointe Drive
Phone: (705) 739-4241 • Fax: (705) 739-4279
Hours: 8:30am–4:30pm, Monday–Friday

Information provided by the City of Barrie at www.barrie.ca

31 Mar 2015

Could our big box store shopping habits be evolving for the better?



In recent weeks Barrie learned that its short lived Target Canada outlet will be shutting down for good along with 133 more of its American owned mega retail outlets across Canada. In a similarly motivated move we learned this week that Future Shop, formerly a Canadian electronics chain absorbed by the American electronics retail chain Best Buy in 2001, is closing its doors on 66 of its Canadian locations. I want to believe we can read deeper into what these two events mean, beyond the immediate impact these shutdowns hold for those who have found themselves unfortunately and suddenly out of a job. 

Our shopping habits have evolved dramatically in my lifetime. A weekend agenda in my home growing up included trips to typically family owned local stores, the butcher shop, the bakery. A drive to the vegetable markets out on highway 11 or in the Holland Marsh. An afternoon visit with dad to the hardware store. All to satisfy purchase needs that today for the most part are serviced with one trip to a Walmart, Zehrs or Costco. For that convenience we have learned to often accept a compromise on quality, service, freshness and the likelihood that we are supporting a locally owned establishment while at the same time buying domestically produced goods. 

Target was Barrie's most recent international mega chain store to appear, adding to a retail climate where setting up shop to fulfill consumer demands not being served in the area is less the objective than stealing away market share from the competition and ultimately forcing rival businesses to fail. Big box mega chain stores use many what can only be considered draconian business tactics to conquer and survive and in doing so, they have changed the dynamics of commerce, communities and entire economies.


One can only hope the closing of these two mega chain stores is a signal of a long over due behavioural shift of the buying public in favour of a more personalized shopping experience. The loss of one Future Shop creates opportunity and an environment for numerous smaller, more specialized stores to once again exist. 

The chance for an entire generation that has only ever known that feeling of insignificance, standing totally alone with a query in a half mile long store isle to learn, maybe for the first time, what genuine personalized customer service feels like. The chance for a reemergence of entrepreneurial opportunity lost to deliberately infused bigger is better consumer beliefs long ago. 


The doughnut effect that took us and our spending money out of the downtown's and into the outlying shopping malls and big box chain stores hopefully has hit its peak. The reversal of that tide would be a good and welcomed change for all of us in the long run.



19 Mar 2015

Last month 3rd best for Barrie and area real estate sales.


 Barrie and District home sales post third best ever February 

Residential property sales recorded through the MLS® System of the Barrie & District Association of REALTORS® Inc. numbered 335 units in February 2015. This was an increase of 13.9 per cent from February 2014. 

Within the City of Barrie, sales activity rose 17.1 per cent on a year-over-year basis. The City of Barrie saw 205 residential sales in February. A year-over-year increase of 9.2 per cent was recorded in surrounding areas, where sales activity totalled 130 units. 

“The market has been quite active to start the year, with sales last month hitting their third best February level on record behind 2012 and 2002,” said Bruce Shipley, President of the Barrie and District Association of REALTORS®. “With months of supply running near record lows, sellers are in the driver’s seat heading into the busy spring market, and prices are likely to continue to push higher.” 

The year-to-date average price for all homes sold via the Association’s MLS® System in 2015 was $343,509, up 4.8 per cent from the same period in 2014. 

The year-to-date average price figure for homes sold within the City of Barrie was $319,152. This was a four per cent increase compared to the year-to-date average selling price in 2014. The year-to-date average price figure for the surrounding areas was $379,553, an increase of 6.6 per cent from the year-to-date average selling price in 2014. 

The Barrie & District Association of REALTORS® cautions that over a period of time, the use of average price information can be useful in establishing trends, but it does not indicate actual prices in widely divergent areas or account for price differentials between geographical areas. 

The dollar value of all home sales in February 2015 was $116 million, rising 18.2 per cent from year-ago levels. This was a record for the month of February. 

February saw another increase in new supply. New supply has risen by double-digits on a year-over-year basis in nine of the past 10 months. New residential listings rose 23.4 per cent from February 2014 to 616 units in February 2015. 

Overall supply remains below most of the past decade. Active residential listings on the Association’s MLS® System numbered 1,036 units at the end of February 2015, up 4.4 per cent from year-ago levels. 

There were 3.1 months of inventory at the end of February 2015. This was flirting with a record low for this time of the year. The number of months of inventory is the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity. 

Sales of all property types in the Barrie region numbered 352 units in February, rising 17.3 per cent compared to February 2014. The total value of all properties sold in February 2015 was $119 million, up 20.1 per cent on a year-over-year basis. 
The Barrie and District Association of REALTORS® Inc. covers a geographical area that includes the City of Barrie and part or all of the surrounding townships, including 

Springwater, Oro-Medonte, Innisfil, Essa, Bradford-West Gwillimbury and Clearview. 


6 Mar 2015

Spring home projects you should be getting ready for

The sun is rising a little earlier and taking a little longer to set each day. The snow that lines our driveways and roads will inevitably give way to green grass and blossoming gardens. The bbq's and patio furnishings will come out of hibernation and once again we will turn our focus to the outside of our homes.

Nothing sounds better after the winter we have endured than sitting back on the patio with friends and family and a pitcher of margaritas but before we get there, there are a few projects to tackle to get your home into top form again.

                        

Yard work
Regardless of the number of bags of leaves you put by the curb last fall there are sure to be more that fell between you putting the rake away and getting out the snow shovel. Give the lawn a once over and rake out the gardens readying them for mulch and compost. 
Applying a layer of compost will replace some nutrients in the soil. Follow this with a covering of mulch. Mulch gives your gardens that professionally landscaped look and helps hold in moisture on the hottest of summer days. It also helps prevent rain erosion and weed growth.
Schedule your vegetable, herb and flower planting. Each has their own time lines for planting and growth. Prepare yourself with a little research and a calendar to mark out the best planting times.

Inspection

The forces of winter have been at work around the clock for the past few months. Take a walk around the grounds of your home and make some notes. Do the driveways patios and walkways need sweeping and maybe a good power washing?  Check the chimney and vents, the shingles, eaves and downspouts to see if they have remained in tact.  Have the window and door frames, sills and caulking held up? Are there any new nests or places critters or insects might see as an invitation to join you inside? Has any brick mortar come loose? Do the gutters need a good cleaning? 

Window Cleaning

Nothing brightens up a home and its occupants like crisp clean windows. While you are doing them take note of how the frames and caulking are holding out. If you have wood frames be sure the paint is in tact and if not, give them a fresh coat to seal out moisture and keep them from rotting.
On the Inside
Carpets, rugs and even drapery cleaning is best done when it is warm enough to open the windows for quicker drying. Same goes for giving your floors a good wall to wall washing and tackling any indoor painting projects you need to do.
Schedule a weekend for taking a trip to the landfill, the goodwill and for holding a garage sale. This will set you in motion to purge the items in the house and garage that have outlived their usefulness. 
Reno time
Has a kitchen or bathroom renovation been on your list for a while? Why not do it now and get past it before summer arrives? Much of the prep work for projects this size is best done in the garage or even on the patio. The noise, traffic and restricted access is easier to deal with when you can slip away to take a walk or grab dinner on a patio, rather than in the dead of winter when we are more or less trapped inside.
Put your winter stored energy to work before the lazy days of summer get here and have a good 2015.